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Succumb to the depths. - 80%

GrizzlyButts, March 18th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2018, CD, Invictus Productions

The sheer magnitude of inspirationally prolific dark extreme metal musicians erupting out of the northwest United States is made no less frightening by the force of darkness that is Vrasubatlat. Spearheaded by itinerant Ash Borer bassist/vocalist R. (Rory Flay) in the form of a collective of occult black and death metal projects he has a hand in. Adzalaan is more or less his solo black metal project and perhaps the strongest argument made yet for his painterly guitar playing and knack for atmospheric occult darkness. It is a brilliant debut that streams a frightening consciousness through black metal guitar horror that evokes the regal spirit of occult black metal with an inherently sinister grace. ‘Into Vermilion Mirrors’ is a vital black metal release for early 2018 and a strong 20th release for Vrasubatlat‘s definitive oeuvre.

The lead voice throughout the album is R.‘s twisted and crawling guitar work that is meticulously written in ear-scouring circular rituals as his vocal growls serve as rhythmic incantations that drive each song through agonizing demonic harassment. The Rob Vigna-esque guitar work of tracks like “Paralysis Euphoria” bristle with a defiantly regal tone that rides the brim of, but never indulges in, the excesses of Nightbringer or Demoncy. Paired with “Vermilion in Absentia” this might be my favorite duo of black metal dynamics of 2018 so far. I cannot praise the guitar work enough.

Though the project is driven by, written, and largely performed by R., it also features drums from the drummer of underappreciated Portland death metal band Witch Vomit who does a fantastic job of nailing down the dark forms of Adzalaan with great variation. I figure if you were enamored with Predatory Light‘s full length back in 2016 this shares some of that same lead guitar driven mystique but fewer Scriabin runs and more of a post-Incantation, early Taake dissonant edge. Comparisons can’t fairly nail down R.‘s own style and I think that is why I’ve gotten such a kick out of this debut, it has it’s own sort of ritualistic, atmospheric darkness that extends itself beyond expectations. Highly recommended to fans of Ash Borer, Predatory Light and occult black metal in general.